The Wounded Mind
There’s something fundamentally wrong with how the world is right now. Don’t you see it – feel it? We are a species with noble character, with a great spirit, and with a sacred soul. In our hearts we wish only for the betterment of all people; for love and justice and communion. And yet what we see going on in the world is nothing less than complete madness. We have to say it exactly as it is – there is a sickness going on and this pathogen is being perpetrated on a vast scale.
I propose the possibility for the existence of some kind of infection/invasion/contagion that produces a form of mental ‘madness’ that is so normalized within us that we hardly recognize its presence. That is, this ‘presence’ has embedded itself into our various forms of social conditioning (or perhaps even produces this conditioning) in order to veil its existence. This normalized madness then usurps genuine thinking patterns, with the result that when everyone shares the collective psychosis then the madness of the world appears to be a ‘normal feature’ of human civilization. And those people who are ‘awake’ to the genuine human spirit and mind are considered the crazies – the anomalies – as the following tale shows:
There was once a wise and powerful king who ruled in a remote city of a far kingdom. And the king was feared for both his might and his love of wisdom. At the heart of the city was a well whose water was cool and crystalline, and all the inhabitants drank from this well, even the king and his courtiers, because there was no other well in the city. One night, while everyone was asleep, a witch entered the city and poured seven drops of a strange liquid into the well, and said:
‘From now on, anyone who drinks this water will go crazy.’
The next morning all the inhabitants drank the water from the well, except the king and his lord chamberlain, and very soon everyone went mad, as the witch had foretold. During that day, all people went through the narrow streets and public places whispering to each other:
‘The king is mad. Our king and his lord chamberlain have lost their reason. Naturally, we cannot be ruled by a mad king. We must dethrone him!’
That night, the king ordered a golden cup of water from the well to be brought to him. And when they brought the cup the king and his lord chamberlain drank heavily from it. Soon after that there was great rejoicing in that distant city of a far kingdom because the king and his lord chamberlain had regained their reason.
The King and his love of wisdom (Genuine Mind) was corrupted by the poisonous drops of the witch’s liquid (virus/pathogen) that resulted in the mass epidemic of craziness (psychosis/Wounded Mind). This corrupted mind then became the dominant narrative that influenced social behavior. This Wounded Mind is like a contagion that infects.
Our collective ‘cultural mind’ is continually being shaped by dominant social-cultural narratives that normalize our mental and emotional behavioral patterns. These norms are then transferred into cultural myths that serve to transmit and reinforce these mass-minded belief systems. We end up validating our own corrupted thinking through unconscious affirmations. Once this seed of psychosis is planted then it aims to propagate and strengthen through diversions and manifestations that legitimate its own ‘logical’ existence. Like a mental cancer it ingratiates itself into our own neural pathways as an insider rather than an outsider so that we fail to notice its toxic presence. Yet there remains a niggling sense of something being ‘not-quite-right’ deep within any sensible/sensitive person.
This strange reality of ours becomes internalized so that we adapt to a form of ‘normality’ and anyone who speaks up or questions this ‘paradigm of normality’ is considered either odd, eccentric or, at worst, crazy. A more recent category for such people is now to be designated as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ which is a quick brush to dismiss people with ideas or thinking contrary to this ‘norm.’ And those people who appear to accept and encourage such norms are quickly brought ‘into the fold’ and supported in their career paths. The majority of those manifesting the Wounded Mind are not in psychiatric care but running most of our social, political, and financial institutions. Positions of great power necessitate their own specific mindset, one that is generally provided by the corrupted mind.
A Disturbance of Mind
The presence of the Wounded Mind is like a sickness of the soul, and it manifests as a disturbance in the collective unconscious. Just like any other virus or pathogen, it seeks to spread itself by infecting as many carriers as possible. Those people who carry the Wounded Mind (whether knowingly or not) act as transmitters and amplifiers for it, strengthening its frequency within the collective nonlocal field of consciousness. A collective possession is what we refer to as a psychic epidemic, or a disturbance in the field. Such disturbances can have varying affects upon people’s mental health and well-being.
People who suffer from a Wounded Mind may carry it as an ‘undefinable’ trauma within them, and it is common to turn to alcoholism or drug dependencies as a way of coping (or of escape). When a person feels stressed or traumatized they are like an open wound for further mental invasion. And it can be quite subtle at first as our modern societies have devised endless ways for our interference. We are distracted to look away from our own minds and thus miss the psycho-pathogen in action. As a person further integrates the Wounded Mind they may find themselves vulnerable to victimization; such as through social harassment and bullying (especially online nowadays), or as addicted-consumers of sexual deviancy, pornography, and socially-sanctioned extreme experiences. The monk Thomas Merton said that our modern societies suffer from a crisis of sanity:
‘The problems of the nations are the problems of mentally deranged people, but magnified a thousand times because they have the full-straight-faced approbation of a schizoid society, schizoid national structures, schizoid military and business complexes.’1
If all modern institutions are infected by a corrupted system of mental thinking patterns then, as Merton suggests, this instability will be amplified and made worse. Individual neuroses are given institutional sanction and support within a culture that has based its social norms upon such irrationalities. The irrational has broken through and implanted itself as the rational standard rule. It is perhaps little wonder that people can be so susceptible to this mental pathogen when it comes to us dressed up in sheep’s clothing. As is always the case, those people most vulnerable are usually those who are conditioned to authority and/or passivity. This trait, unfortunately, is one that is first implanted through compulsory schooling.
Likewise, people who are easily influenced by external opinions, and whom are prone to group-thinking, are amongst the first to give away their mental independence to external sources. The virus of the Wounded Mind preys upon such ‘group-think’ individuals as they are the mass open playing fields for psychic epidemics. The ‘mass mind’ of humanity helps in the transmission and proliferation of the psychic pathogen – the wounded mind. As the famous psychiatrist R.D. Laing once said – ‘The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man…normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.’2 Conscious awareness is perhaps our greatest antidote.
If we are to see human history from a wider perspective then it is important we view major events, human actions, propaganda, social disturbances, power struggles, and the rest, from this standpoint of the wounded mind. The modern human mind has been formed from many traits that include greed, lust, ambition, materialism, insincerity, and a ‘split’ personality. In all, these are traits that mark a lack of authenticity. The Wounded Mind seeks to develop greater degrees of inauthenticity and lack of empathy within the individual. We can see such personalities walking across the world stage.
The peril of the Wounded Mind is that resistance may also help to spread it. That is, people who often start out resisting and fighting against this corrupted mindset often find themselves adopting it’s values in order to survive. It’s the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ type of thinking. And this cliché too is very likely to have been a product of the Wounded Mind intending to verify itself. It may seem that we are struggling to awaken against our very own spell of sleep.
Under the Pathogen Spell
It has often been said – by mystics, sages, and wisdom traditions – that humanity is collectively asleep. Our ignorance over our condition, and the absence of real knowledge, indicates we are asleep. Similarly, the Gnostics viewed humanity as being ‘asleep’ under a trance – a form of material spell – that has severed us from contact with a genuine divine source. Instead, we are ruled by a false or ‘flawed god,’ a demiurge, that has malevolent intentions to keep us trapped within the material realms.
The more we breed this Wounded Mind within our societies and cultures the more people will behave and live like automatons. We will live within a tighter range of conditioned stimuli that programs specific opinions and thinking patterns that validate the pathogen. A person who is more conditioned to obedience is more susceptible to receive the mental virus. Perhaps this is why our modern societies are establishing rigid orders of control and obedience, such as when we travel, pass through airports, etc. It can be likened to a preparation for automated behavior as a requisite for an automated mind. The mystic George Gurdjieff wrote:
‘Contemporary culture requires automatons. And people are undoubtedly losing their acquired habits of independence and turning into automatons, into parts of machines…. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.’3
By adopting the mentality of the Wounded Mind, we participate in our own suppression and further the behavior of an automaton. We need to recognize that many of our incumbent social systems are set-up to corroborate and reinforce the consensus mind-set. Any genuine resistance cannot come from any ‘mass movement’ but only from those persons who can think and act independently.
It is important to recognize that the Wounded Mind is a field phenomenon, and that our own mind and thoughts do not exist securely guarded within our heads. Since we are all interconnected within the non-local field, we are all susceptible to the infection of this predatory virus. The first step we can take is to accept the possibility that the pathogen virus exists. The Gnostic text The Gospel of Philip says: ‘So long as the root of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized, it is dissolved. When it is revealed, it perishes…’ The danger lies in our distraction.
We must guard against being diverted away from our authenticity and lured into the modern distractions of hedonistic pleasure-seeking, greed and materialism, and the running after shallow satisfactions. After all, this illusive psychosis offers false promises. Our modern cultures appear to want to prevent the majority of people from pursuing their own genuine developmental paths. This is no doubt because our capitalist-consumer based societies require a regular mass of workers and consumers whom live a regulated, predictable, and conformist life.
Yet it is now necessary to see the Wounded Mind for what it is – recognition and acknowledgement is key. If we cannot bring harmony and good sense to the world around us, then we should at least bring it upon ourselves. We are the wounded ones who can become our own wounded healers.
About the Author
Kingsley L. Dennis is the author of Bardo Times: hyperreality, high-velocity, simulation, automation, mutation – a hoax?, The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousness, and The Sacred Revival: Magic, Mind & Meaning in a Technological Age, available at Amazon. Visit him on the web at http://www.kingsleydennis.com/.
Extracted from the book Healing the Wounded Mind: The Psychosis of the Modern World and the Search for the Self.
1 Cited in Levy, Paul. 2013. Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil. Berkeley,
CA: North Atlantic Books, p47
2 Cited in Levy, Paul. 2013. Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil. Berkeley,
CA: North Atlantic Books, xvii
3 Ouspensky, PD. 1950. In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, p316